NXEA launches on-train wi-fi service

WI-FI facilities for passengers on National Express East Anglia (NXEA) intercity services between London and Norwich were officially launched yesterday.

The regional train operator has secured funding of �346,000 from the East of England Development Agency and Suffolk and Norfolk county councils towards the cost of introducing the technology.

With the necessary equipment now installed across the fleet of intercity coaches, wi-fi access is now available to first class passengers free of charge, and to standard class passengers for an additional fee.

NXEA says the provision will involve operating costs for the company of more than �200,000 a year, with the capital funding from EEDA and the local authorities being vital to the roll-out of the service.

Andrew Chivers, managing director of NXEA, said: “The project to install wi-fi on our intercity trains is a tremendous example of how a regional partnership can deliver a successful outcome in such a short period of time.”

EEDA board member Shona Johnstone said: “Wi-fi has been identified as a key priority for business travellers on the Norwich to London line.

“It is just one of the improvements in our vision for the Great Eastern Main Line, which also includes faster journey times and greater capacity on trains.”

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Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning at Suffolk County Council, added: “Train services from Ipswich to London and Norwich are part of important intercity routes and I am delighted to be able to support this significant enhancement.”

The wi-fi technology combines broadband satellite and multiple mobile data connections to let passengers stay connected along the entire route. The one-off charge for standard class travellers is �2.95 per session, with monthly and annual options available.